The new S280 is a case in point: fitted with the proven 2.8-litre V6 developing 193bhp, it forms the entry point to the top model in Mercedes' range. At ú43,640 on-the-road, it is hardly cheap and looks expensive compared with its immediate rivals from BMW, Jaguar and Audi, but it is undeniably good value for money given the standard specification and the knowledge that it currently is one of the most technologically advanced cars in the world.
Unlike the other models in the S-class range, there is no long-wheelbase version, but at a shade over five metres overall the standard S is still one of the biggest cars on the road. Better packaging has meant the cabin is 17mm longer than the old car's and, at 1,530mm, there's more shoulder room than in any comparable saloon.
The S's svelte lines - styled by Briton Steve Mattin - conceal the dimensions, though, and make it a far more acceptable, more discreet, proposition than before.